America watches Terri Schiavo die over a prolonged period from dehydration/starvation.
More attention is paid by everyone to things like living wills and other legal instruments. More commonly, husbands and wives will be explicit with each other about detailed situations.
Many stop and ask, why did Terri have to die of dehydration? Why couldn't she have been well-cared for to the end and finally delivered via an overdose of morphine or some other quick, painless finisher?
The euthanasia movement gains significant momentum.
Assisted suicide is legalized in a significant portion of the states or the Supreme Court federalizes the issue as it has abortion. Justice Kennedy's "sweet mystery of life" reasoning extends private discretion to decisions about the life and death of dependent, helpless persons.
America attains the moral status of, say, the Netherlands.